Christmas in Rome

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially in the winding vicolos and side streets decked with twinkling lights and with glowing orbs hung above. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, and here in Rome jolly doesn’t even begin to cover the level of yuletide cheer and spirit you’ll feel after completing our list of 4 Christmas must-do’s.

Christmas Trees

Photo Credit: Reuters

Photo Credit: Reuters

Nothing says Christmas like Christmas trees, and nothing says Christmas in Rome like the mother of all Christmas Trees located in Saint Peter’s square. Since the Pope holds the environmental issue at heart, this year, the 21-meter high tree will have energy-saving lights.

Ice Skating Rinks

Photo Credit: Ian Zurzolo

Photo Credit: Ian Zurzolo

Rome has its fair share of festive holiday rinks for ice skating, even if the weather in December is rarely close to freezing.Check out the rink at Parco dell’Auditorium, or try one of the rinks closer to Rome.

Nativity Scenes

Photo Credit: NurPhoto, Getty Images

Photo Credit: NurPhoto, Getty Images

Tradition holds that the first nativity scene (or nativity crib, or in Italian presepe) was made by St Francis of Assisi, but as mentioned above, as early as 432 and Pope Sixtus III, people have been creating re-enactments of this first scene of Christ’s birth.

Italians pride themselves on their crib scenes and often compete with each other in producing the largest or most beautiful. Some of the most notable nativity scenes in Rome include the one at the second level of the Spanish Steps, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, San Marcello on the Via del Corso, San Cosmo and Damiano, Santa Maria in Trastevere and the American church of Santa Susanna.

But the most famous and indeed most impressive is the Nativity Scene at St Peter’s Square.

Positioned at the obelisk in the centre of the square in front of the stunning Basilica of St Peter, the nativity scene is life-size and under construction for all of December.

Trevi Fountain & Pantheon

Photo Credit: eternalcitytours

Photo Credit: eternalcitytours

The Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon are especially beautiful at this time of year. Maybe it’s the crisp cold, or the longer nights, as these iconic monuments are especially beautiful in the hush of the evening.

This is especially true of the Trevi Fountain fresh from it’s multi-million renovation and clean up that ended earlier this year. Stunningly beautiful when lit at night, and extremely romantic, the Trevi Fountain is always a crowd pleaser but at night most of the crowds have died down, and in fact, this is the best time to see the Trevi Fountain.

The Pantheon is equally impressive.  Both attractions are within easy walking distance from each other, and the Pantheon is also just a short walk from the Christmas Market in Piazza Navona.